Karl-Franzens University of Graz (UG) - Austria

The University of Graz is second largest institution of higher education in Austria. It was founded in 1585. With app. 27,000 students and 3,500 employees, today it makes an essential contribution to the vibrant life of the Styrian capital. Diversity and a wide scope characterise the education and research programmes at the six faculties. Students can choose from more than 100 bachelor, master and diploma programmes.

The pro-active sustainability process at University of Graz was launched in 2001 by the establishment of oikos Graz – Students for Sustainable Economics and Management and strong cooperation with the university management (esp. the vice-rector for research and knowledge transfer) to foster sustainability actions at the university. A number of workshops, to involve further students and staff as well as a sustainability newsletter and a sustainability library were first actions growing from this cooperation. Since 2005 University of Graz is active in sustainability reporting. The reports are based on GRI guidelines and indicators for sustainability reporting. Hereby the University sets standards for sustainability reporting in higher education within Austria and Europe. Since the same year the University has a fully employed sustainability coordinator responsible for introducing sustainability in educational, research and governance programmes across the university. Latest achievements are the establishment of a regional platform – Sustainability4U - of all four universities based in the city of Graz.

To transfer and exchange experiences and knowledge also on an international scale as well as to support higher education for sustainable development in Europe, University of Graz is founding member of the COPERNICUS Alliance – European Network on Higher Education for Sustainable Development.

The youngest faculty at University of Graz is the Faculty for Environmental and Regional Sciences and Education. This interdisciplinary faculty has been established in 2007 to strengthen the cooperation between disciplines as well as to society. Integral part of this new faculty is the Regional Centre of Expertise on Education for Sustainable Development (RCE) Graz-Styria which was founded in the context of the UN-Decade 'Education for Sustainable Development' in 2006 and has been institutionalized in 2009. RCE Graz-Styria acts as a part of an international network 'Global Learning Space for Sustainable Development' with more than 100 RCEs worldwide, which are acknowledged by the United Nations University. Main research focuses of the centre is in the fields of Higher Education for Sustainable Development including aspects of assessment and curricula innovations as well as sustainability transitions. As such, RCE Graz-Styria has won the “Sustainability Award 2010” by the Austrian Federal Ministry for Research and Science as well as has been awarded twice by the Austrian UNESCO Commission for its projects contributing to the UN Decade on ESD.

The centre and its staff has a long-time experience in project management, being lead partner of national and international research projects as well as being leader of work packages in a number of European Union projects (mainly LLP, TEMPUS). Furthermore, RCE Graz-Styria is involved in the national policy development in the field of ESD (National Strategy for ESD) and member of the Advisory Board of the National Commission for the UNDESD by the Austrian UNESCO Commission.

Role of UG in the project:

  • Contribute to the mapping exercise in Austria.
  • Assist in the development of an online platform of resources as well as get familiarised and review the online tool.
  • Write an academic paper.
  • Contribute to the bi-annual newsletters.
  • Provide feedback to the Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) framework.
  • Contribute to the dissemination and exploitation of the project outputs, outcomes and future network activities.
  • Participate and actively contribute to the discussions generated in regional and annual meetings, seminars and conference.

Operational and financial management:

  • The project team will coordinate the above administrative and academic project activities.
  • Financial administration will be handled by project team who will liaise internally with the institution’s finance department.

 

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